Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




Bonsai Exhibition of Japanese Plum Trees


Arts and crafts

There was sweet smell slightly, and colors, red, white and pink were everywhere…

I’d like to tell you about the few hours of my one day that I felt strongly closer to Japanese culture.

Nagahama Bonsai Exhibition of Plum Tree is held in Shiga prefecture, and it is the largest and the oldest one in Japan.

90 pots of beautiful plums are exhibited in Japanese style zashiki (tatami room).

There are 3meters tall ones and 400 years old ones displayed there.

They are bringing the special Japanese mood out to the whole building.

When there are plum trees in a traditional Japanese room, time seems to pass by slower and quieter, and the atmosphere there becomes very calm but still urbane.


My favorite one is “Rin Chigai” plum tree. The blossoms of this tree change their colors as they grow.


Nowadays, there are not many opportunities to see so many plum trees at one time, especially in Japanese traditional rooms.

I felt that there was an atmosphere that we all can feel closer to Japanese culture here at Bonsai exhibits.



【Nagahama Bonbai Exhibition】

Venue          :Keiunkan(2-5 Minato-machi, Nagahama-shi, Shiga)

Entrance Fee:Adult 500yen, Under Junior High student 200yen(20% of if you are group of more than 20)

Period          :January 9th~March 13th, 2016

Time            :9:00~17:00(Enter by 16:30)(20:30 for Feb.6,7,11,13,14,20,21,27,28 and Mar. 5 and 6. 17:00 for Mar. 12 and 13.)

Price: 500yen

Holiday     :None

Contact   :Nagahama Tourism Bureau  0749-65-6521

Website        : Bonsai Exhibition of Japanese Plum Trees in Nagahama (English)  

                       Bonsai Exhibition of Japanese Plum Trees in Nagahama (Japanese)



Japanese Traditional Snacks for Bean-Throwing Ceremony, Setsubun


Charms of Japan

roasted soybeans and dry sweets

As I was thinking that I finally got out of the mood of the New Year holidays, they started to display already assorted roasted soybeans and cute dry sweets at a nearby Japanese sweets shop.
The assorted snacks' name is “Setsubun”. ( The word “Setsubun” literally means “division of the seasons”. We usually have bean-throwing ceremony.)


A smiling woman’s (represents good fortune) mask and devil (Oni in Japanese) one, a wooden measure and rolled sushi is called “Ehomaki”...


They are very fine works. Above all, on the wooden measure, even beans and a word are engraved.

Just by looking at the assorted sweets, it is very enjoyable because there is a mixture of homespun roasted soybeans and flawless dry sweets in a small box.


Setsubun Box

This "Setsubun" box is palm size (9 cm square), it lasts long and inexpensive. So it will be good souvenirs around this season for any visitors, especially from foreign countries.


Setsubun display

A Display during a heavy snow storm the other day.



A traditional custom in Fukui “Tenjinko”


Life in Fukui

January 25th every year, “Tenjinko” is held mainly in the northern region of Fukui Prefecture.
“Tenjinko” is the day which the people offer grilled flatfish in front of hanging scrolls depicting
Tenjin-sama(Michizane SUGAWARA)who is called “The God of learning”.

First of all, girls don’t have the hanging scrolls of Tenjin-sama.
Only when baby boys were born, the mother’s parents present one to their grandson.
So sometimes there are a couple of Tenjin-samas in a family.
Tenjin-sama’s face differs depending on the scroll and
seems like it comes to resemble the owner’s one.

Such traditions and the belief in Tenjin-sama has been inherited in Fukui.
Possibly, it is thanks to Tenjin-sama that students of Fukui have Japan’s top-level academic abilities. (H.S)

Japanese Toka Ebisu Festival / Beautiful Girls, Fukumusume

I visited Toka Ebisu Festival in Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture.

This festival is held from January 9th to the 11th every year.


In this festival, people come to Hokoku Shirine and pray to Ebisu (Japanese god of good luck and good fortune) for business prosperity.


About 10,000 people visit there in those 3days. There is a lively and happy atmosphere.

The girls selected out of 50 applicants are shrine maidens who keep ringing bells to wish for good luck,


and the other ones are at the festival booths selling good luck bamboo leaves and charms.


And 5 girls are specially selected for Fuku Musume (considered lucky girls who spread good luck to others as well).

They walk around beautifully and cheerfully.


The girls were not only beautiful but they were also calm.


I asked them a few questions.

One of the questions was the reason for them to apply for Fukumusume and Miko.

One of the girls said that she applied because a friend of hers wanted to apply together.

Another one said that she always came to this festival and wanted to become one someday since she was a child.


I also asked them about their goals and or dreams.

Most of them have not figured it out yet but one of them said,

she wants to be a nursery teacher.


In the afternoon, the two shrine maidens with bells led the parade of Ebisu, Fukumusume and a children band through the town.


Moreover, they did Mochimaki ( an event of scattering rice cakes for visitors at the festival) and offered cups of hot Amazake (sweet mild sake).

This was my first Toka Ebisu festival and I thought it was the most lively and cheerful one I have ever experienced.


By the time going home, I felt much more energized and happier than when I arrived there in the morning.




Eiheiji Temple in winter / Waterfall "Reiro no Taki"


Places to visit

Although it’s a warm winter this year, we cannot talk about a winter of Hokuriku region without snow. Because of a frigid weather which started last week, it has been cold in Fukui since then.

Moreover, in Fukui city, we just had more than 30cm of snowfall overnight which was causing a lot of troubles for commuters.


Meanwhile, I visited Eiheiji Temple to see its snow view.  Anywhere in the temple precincts, I could hear the sound of the water stream from the Eiheiji River.  The river is flowing next to the side of the path leading to the shrine. As we pass the side entrance for visitors to the temple, keep walking further deep, and the sound of the water stream becomes louder.


The origin of the sound of the water stream is from "Reiro no Taki" (a waterfall) which is located by the opposite shore of "Jakko En" (a small park which has a few cemeteries).

It is a small waterfall which drops only more than ten meters and the falling water from the vertical steep rock looks quite beautiful.


I thought that the winter of water scenery is nice to look at.